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I'm writing a full article (6-8 pages) using IEEE guidelines.

Currently got two versions: one where images are more readable, and another where 4 images to be read need a lot of zoom.

In the first case, the article has 10 pages in total (3 columns are references). In the second case, 8 pages in total (3 columns are references).

I know from fact that

References most definitely count (for the page total). IEEE page limits are inclusive of any front and/or back matter. And it is a HARD limit—not even a single word should spill over onto an additional page.

I don't want to have the images like that where the reader needs to put on extra zoom but i also want to respect the total page limit.

Is there a way the images can be placed after references (or anywhere in a specific section) that makes them not count for the total page count?

If not, considering the images are very relevant and both the content and references were reduced as much as i could, what can I do in this situation?

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    Does this answer your question? Splitting a relatively long paper into two shorter papers – Solar Mike Feb 13 at 10:13
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    And this may be relevant: academia.stackexchange.com/q/103361/72855 – Solar Mike Feb 13 at 10:14
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    You have to consider how your paper is going to be ingested. Some people will print it; some people will view it online. Generally, I believe a paper should be legible no matter how the reader consumes it. Also, why IEEE? Can't you pick a journal with more flexible guidelines? And if it's a conference paper, you can trim it for now but publish a longer version later. – user108403 Feb 14 at 8:48
  • It's for a conference that requires to follow IEEE guidelines. It's good now! – Tiago Martins Peres 李大仁 Feb 14 at 8:58
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If the article is only going to be published online, one can create hyperlinks to access the full sized images.

If it is to be printed, one can reference or add notes saying that a full size version of the images are available in the website X.

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In many, but not all IEEE publications, the hard limit implies that if the paper is larger than N pages, every (N+1)th page is charged with an overlength charge. See this page on IEEE Author Center, which also contains the fresh link to a PDF with current prices (overlength, open-access, color).

Usually, IEEE Transactions on XXX will allow publishing papers that are larger than standard size (up to a certain maximum), while the IEEE XXX Letters-type journals might have a hard limit with no possibility to publish a paper exceeding the standard length even for an extra fee.

I would certainly check the journal (not the general IEEE guideline) you are intending to submit on that matter since you want the images to be legible without a mandatory zoom. The fees vary, but, for example, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation (TAP) charges $200 per extra page (as of 2020). See this 2018 guideline for IEEE TAP which covers more details on how references count and fees are calculated.

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Make it into two - part 1 and part 2, gives you more pages in total as well. There are often papers published that have “subsequent” papers. An example: part 1 is method with some preliminary results, part 2 further results, analysis & conclusions.

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